(Preface)(1) Though it had been my wish to glide in my little boat by the shoreof a peaceful coast and, as a certain writer says, to gather little fishes from thepools of the ancients, you, brother Castalius, bid me set my sails toward thedeep. You urge me to leave the little work I have in hand, that is, theabbreviation of the Chronicles, and to condense in my own style in this smallbook the twelve volumes of the Senator on the origin and deeds of the Getaefrom olden time to the present day, descending through the generations of thekings. (2) Truly a hard command, and imposed by one who seems unwilling torealize the burden of the task. Nor do you note this, that my utterance is tooslight to fill so magnificent a trumpet of speech as his. But above every burdenis the fact that I have no access to his books that I may follow his thought.Still--and let me lie not--I have in times past read the books a second time byhis steward's loan for a three days' reading. The words I recall not, but thesense and the deeds related I think I retain entire. (3) To this I have addedfitting matters from some Greek and Latin histories. I have also put in anintroduction and a conclusion, and have inserted many things of my ownauthorship. Wherefore reproach me not, but receive and read with gladnesswhat you have asked me to write. If aught be insufficiently spoken and youremember it, do you as a neighbor to our race add to it, praying for me,dearest brother. The Lord be with you. Amen.(Geographical Introduction)I
(4) Our ancestors, as Orosius relates, were of the opinion that the circle of the whole world was surrounded by thegirdle of Ocean on three sides. Its three parts they called Asia, Europe and Africa. Concerning this threefold divisionof the earth's extent there are almost innumerable writers, who not only explain the situations of cities and places,but also measure out the number of miles and paces to give more clearness. Moreover they locate the islandsinterspersed amid the waves, both the greater and also the lesser islands, called Cyclades or Sporades, as situated inthe vast flood of the Great Sea. (5) But the impassable farther bounds of Ocean not only has no one attempted todescribe, but no man has been allowed to reach; for by reason of obstructing seaweed and the failing of the winds itis plainly inaccessible and is unknown to any save to Him who made it. (6) But the nearer border of this sea, whichwe call the circle of the world, surrounds its coasts like a wreath. This has become clearly known to men of inquiring mind, even to such as desired to write about it. For not only is the coast itself inhabited, but certain islandsoff in the sea are habitable. Thus there are to the East in the Indian Ocean, Hippodes, Iamnesia, Solis Perusta (whichthough not habitable, is yet of great length and breadth), besides Taprobane, a fair island wherein there are towns orestates and ten strongly fortified cities. But there is yet another, the lovely Silefantina, and Theros also. (7) These,though not clearly described by any writer, are nevertheless well filled with inhabitants. This same Ocean has in itswestern region certain islands known to almost everyone by reason of the great number of those that journey to andfro. And there are two not far from the neighborhood of the Strait of Gades, one the Blessed Isle and another calledthe Fortunate. Although some reckon as islands of Ocean the twin promontories of Galicia and Lusitania, where arestill to be seen the Temple of Hercules on one and Scipio's Monument on the other, yet since they are joined to theextremity of the Galician country, they belong rather to the great land of Europe than to the islands of Ocean. (8)However, it has other islands deeper within its own tides, which are called the Baleares; and yet another, Mevania,besides the Orcades, thirty-three in number, though not all inhabited. (9) And at the farthest bound of its westernexpanse it has another
island named Thule, of which the Mantuan bard makes mention:
"And Farthest Thule shall serve thee."
The same mighty sea has also in its arctic region, that is in the north, a great island named Scandza, from which mytale (by God's grace) shall take its beginning. For the race whose origin you ask to know burst forth like a swarm of